12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 1: Orange Almond Olive-Oil Cake

Have you ever come across a recipe that is so simple, yet seems to wow and impress the people around you each time you bake it? This is mine. It’s quick to prepare, travels well, (trust me- it’s travelled 3 hours on an expressway and from one end of Bombay to the other and hasn’t let me down!) and is a one-bowl affair that comes together in under fifteen minutes.

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My son’s hand got in the way

I found this recipe on Food52 when I was searching, very specifically, for an “almond and olive oil cake.” You see, after I made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil cake, I kinda went bonkers over oil-based cakes with ground almonds. Oil-based nut-flour cakes are lovely and dense; rich and nibbly.  I love the unpretentiousness of a loaf cake and the quirk of a cupcake, but olive-oil cakes have a more grown-up air about them. Plus, they have this amazing ability to come out nice, flat and even- which makes icing and slicing them a breeze. Continue reading

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 1: Streusel-Topped Rosemary Loaf Cake

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So here it is! The first in my 12 Weeks Of Christmas series. I’ve started with a plain cake- something that’s not overly fancy, not overly sweet, and definitely not cute like a gingerbread man. But I think you’ll like it…even if it isn’t all pretty and frosty. It’s the kind of cake you’d like to sit down to after dinner with a cup of coffee. The kind of cake you’d like to have with your post-breakfast coffee. The kind of cake you’d want to have because it’s raining or cold, or because you’re walking past it.

I’ve probably read the recipe for rosemary loaf cake in Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess a hundred times. The idea of taking rosemary, an herb used in savoury cooking, and baking it into a cake seemed….well, a little out of place. Rosemary and potatoes, to me, seemed like the perfect match- rosemary didn’t need to be anywhere near a cake. Just sit tight with your starchy spud-pal!

But then I began to think about all the desserts I like which have a sweet + spicy/savoury pairing.

♥ Chilli & chocolate…

♥ Salt & caramel…

♥ Strawberry & basil…

So why not combine rosemary with a little sugar? I was just being stupid, wrinkling my nose at the thought of rosemary in a cake. Continue reading

12 Weeks Of Christmas Treats

Hello everyone! It’s October already. Everyone says it, but the year does go by quite quickly.

So I kind of box the months of the year into different categories. The first few months- January to April – go by quickly enough.  New beginnings and all that spiel in January, only 28 days in Feb, and school winding down to a close in March. (Plus my son’s birthday.) April is vacation month, so there are camps and classes and a trip or two to visit the grandparents.

May, June and July are the months I find the slowest. May because it is unbearably hot here in Pune, and come June and July, the monsoons hit (which are lovely, but sometimes all that rain can be difficult to negotiate when you walk your child to school.)

August onwards goes by quite quickly- husband’s birthday, sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary, three more birthdays, and then, September onwards, festival season! Ganpati, Navratri, Diwali, Christmas! (And October also happens to be my birthday month, so that’s a plus.)

And that’s what brings me to today’s post and a little project I have for the blog. Did you know that we have 12 weeks left till Christmas? Yup, that’s right. 12 weeks to my favourite holiday of the year! And one can never start too soon when it comes to Christmas- whether it’s the shopping, the eating, or the plane tickets.

Image via clipartbest

Image via clipartbest

It’s been a while since I took on any kind of project. And I don’t think I’ve ever done a blog or writing challenge- you know, given myself a fixed goal and a deadline and stuck to it. For the next 12 weeks, as a run up to Christmas, I’m going to post 2 Christmas recipes per week, till Dec 24th. Sweet treats like cake, cookies and candy as well as some savoury sides and breakfast recipes.

So let me bring you to what got me started on this in the first place.

  • An Evernote notebook chockfull of recipes I wanted to try;
  • Exasperation with myself at not capturing an image every single meal I’ve cooked or a cake I’ve baked;
  • Not posting because I fear the recipes/images are not good enough or “blog-worthy.”

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve begun a post, only to abandon it later, thinking- this one’s not worth it- there are already so many brownie recipes out there. Or I think, my images are really awful compared to what other bloggers are putting out, I can’t possibly hit publish!

Does this feeling get in your way ever? It happens to me. A lot.

There are two blogs I’ve been following in the past few months, both by truly inspirational women: Anna Watson Carl of The Yellow Table and Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant. And thanks to them, I realized there’s no point waiting around for the right moment to publish the perfect post or take the perfect picture of the perfect cake.

Like Anna says, make a wish or make it happen.

Like Jess says, don’t just create for others. Do it for you.

Without fear. Without hesitating to hit publish. I love cooking and I love writing; and I should do both and share it precisely because I love it. Likes and follows on social media are a part of the blogging parcel, and yes, it sure does feel nice to see those little hearts and multiple likes. But what feels even better is the conversations I’ve had with other bloggers and the friendships I’ve made. What feels better is learning something new and gaining more experience in the kitchen and online.

So here it is: 12 weeks of Christmas Treats, because I want to make this commitment to myself . Because I want to create for myself and create to share, not just because my blog looks empty. Christmas is, after all, the season for sharing.

And for eating raw cookie dough J